Local nonprofit Autism Shifts has provided specialized training, resources, and connection opportunities to educate and empower the Autism community in Tampa Bay for more than a decade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has now made a shift to online programming, offering new virtual courses for young adults with Autism and a new membership program to a broader national audience.
CEO and Founder Vicky Westra said, “Our goal is to educate and help people create a different understanding of Autism, so they can live in a good-feeling place. In that spirit, we’ve embraced the change in the way we offer our services. It’s exciting to us that we can now take our mission of hope and acceptance to a larger audience and help more people live in what we call the Green Zone, which is in a place of hope and positive expectation about their future.”
When the COVID-19-related shutdown halted operations their Westshore area office in March, the team at Autism Shifts decided to shift the set-back into an opportunity to convert their in-person classes and meet-ups to virtual programming. And, soon came the realization that this small nonprofit could now have a much larger impact beyond Tampa Bay.
Westra said, “Our staff has worked over the past few months to rebrand our organization and to create a new website, expanding our services to more individuals, families, and caregivers in the Autism community, regardless of their physical location. We believe that as an Autism community, by first focusing on our own understanding, growth, and expansion, we can become the example of the change we wish to see in the world.”
Autism Shifts is launching its Shifter Membership Program on September 1, providing even more tools and resources for members. There are Individual, Family, and Free plans available, and members will receive programming every week, designed to move them from learning about Autism to leading advocacy efforts in their community.
In addition, Autism Shifts also is offering a four-week Online Employment Ready Course and two-week Online Self-Discovery Course, which are scheduled to begin on September 21. These virtual classes are specifically designed for young adults (18+) with Autism, teaching students how to better understand themselves, the business environment, and the “neuro-typical” world around them.
A local nonprofit with a global mission – to shift from the old, stigmatized way of thinking about Autism to creating a new reality for the Autism community. Learn more about Autism Shifts’ programs and online courses at autismshifts.org.
ABOUT AUTISM SHIFTS:
CEO and Founder Vicky Westra launched Autism Shifts in 2007 with a mission to share the knowledge and tools that her family learned following her daughter Gabbi’s Autism diagnosis. Based in Tampa Bay, the nonprofit has a global mission to empower the Autism community through specialized training, resources, and community connections. Learn more about Autism Shifts at autismshifts.org.